The top five in-demand IT certifications for 2013

Here's a look at what the experts say will be the most in-demand tech certifications for 2013.

The folks at opensesame offer their take on what IT certs will be most in demand in 2013.

Now is a great time to set ambitious career goals for yourself in the new year and achieving a professional certification is an excellent means to improve your skill set, get more responsibility on the job and earn more money. The biggest challenge you face today is figuring out which technical certifications will be in demand in 2013. But don't worry - we've done the hard work, and researched which certification you should pursue to achieve new career heights in the new year.

Here's the top five in-demand IT certifications for 2013, selected based on expert opinion, research, and Google trends.

1, MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate)

Microsoft unveiled the latest crop of new certifications in 2012, driving a large spike in popularity. Earning a 2012 MCSA certification in 2013 will give you a foundation in basic information technology know-how and prepare you for higher Microsoft certifications. We recommend starting with one of these popular certifications:

2. MCSE: Private Cloud

If you've stepped in an IT department over the last year, you know "cloud" is the buzzword on the tip of everyone's tongue. This Microsoft expert certification has been reinvented for the cloud - after only 8 months, the Private Cloud certification is already as popular as the rival CompTIA and CCP cloud certifications. The popularity of cloud computing has increased demand for IT professionals who can build private cloud computing solutions using common technology platforms. Microsoft is also discontinuing the popular MCITP program in 2014 and directing individuals to become MCSE's. This makes 2013 the perfect year to obtain the MCSE certification and get jump start on those who convert in 2014.

3. PMP (Project Management Professional)

Project management is a classic, foundational skill that evolves with new technologies and will never become outdated. A strong understanding of project management enables IT professionals to plan, budget, manage time, and reduce costs. With many companies reducing staff and seeking more efficient operations, project management skills will make IT professionals more effective and add another dimension to their resumes.

4. VCP (VMware Certified Professional)

Virtualization, or the creation of virtual computing platforms, is used to improve scalability and reduce infrastructure costs in hardware-intensive computing environments. The virtualization industry is young and full of potential, and VMware is the industry leader in both virtualization software and virtual certifications. They are reaching the height of their popularity and their certifications are more valuable than ever.

5. CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

Organizations must protect their systems, data, and networks, and information security architects are in high demand. With the shift towards storing data in cloud systems, security experts have a vital role to play in ensuring these systems remain as secure as servers maintained in-house. Among the variety of security certifications available, the CISSP certification is highly respected, extremely popular and generally receives the highest average salary. Here is a chart comparing the CISSP to its competitors based on popularity:

Other hot certifications for 2013?

Please feel free to comment about certifications that could make this list or link other IT blogs.

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